Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at Gail Borden Library kicks off with bilingual exhibit
The Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration normally kicks off in mid-September but started early this year at Gail Borden Public Library with a colorful no-touch, bilingual exhibit.
Beautiful outfits from the Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl sway in the main rotunda, reminding viewers of the many times the talented dance group has performed at the library and in the community. The group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
"We are proud to loan our outfits to the library," said Cynthia Hernandez, executive director of the Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl. "Our mission is, 'To engage and inspire future leaders to realize their potential through artistic expression and community engagement.' Having our cultural outfits on display at the library helps us let people know in the community that we have been using dance to engage others for 25 years."
In addition to featuring the Folklorico outfits, the exhibit traces the history of Hispanics in this area, noting that the Census indicated "19 natives of Mexico were living in Elgin Township" in 1930, to 14,576 people "of Hispanic origin" in 1990, to the 2020 Census estimate of approximately 52,000 (45.7% of 114,797).
One panel explains that workers were recruited from Mexico to become railroad section hands who dug up land and installed railroad tracks, including those of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway. It also adds that many Hispanics worked for the Woodruff & Edwards Foundry by the 1920s.
The exhibit also includes information about Hispanic churches, organizations and U-46's dual language program.
Other library Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration programs include:
• Mexican Independence Day Celebration on Facebook Live: gbpl.info/FBLV. On Saturday, Sept. 11, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., celebrate the anniversary of the independence of Mexico! In association with the Mexican Organization of Elgin.
• José-Luis Orozco Celebrates Hispanic Heritage!, via Zoom. On Saturday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m., children and families are invited to join José-Luis Orozco for an energetic and interactive journey through Latin American culture with singing, dancing and more! Please register at gailborden.info/register.
• Latino Voices on Facebook Live: gbpl.info/FBLV. On Saturday, Oct. 2, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., celebrate the history, traditions, culture and contributions of our Hispanic communities. They will have special guests, music and lots of fun. For other Hispanic Heritage Month activities, visit gailborden.info/hhm. In English and Spanish.
The library thanks the Elgin Area History Museum, E.C. Alft, author of "Hispanics in Elgin," and Mary Camacho for being valuable sources of information. For more information about the exhibit and month, visit gailborden.info/hhmexhibit.